UK cinema releasesHe came, he saw, he canoodled with a beautiful lady, he conquered. James Bond returned to the big screen in style last weekend raking in an extraordinary amount of money in its first few days.

The exact figure which Skyfall talk in during its opening weekend is around £20.1 million. This is not only the highest ever opening gross for a Bond film, beating Casino Royale’s £13million and Quantum of Solace’s £15million with ease, but also the highest opening weekend of the year so far. That’s right, more than Spidey (£11m), more than Tony Stark and pals (£15.8m), and even more than Batman (£14m). If that wasn’t enough of a coup for Sam Mendes and his team, it was also announced today that Skyfall’s takings for the full first week of its release was an astonishing £37.2 million, which sees it actually leap ahead of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and means Skyfall now has the highest grossing opening week of all time.

I think we all expected Skyfall to be a big hit, but a mix of critical acclaim and a lack of competition at the multiplex has combined to create the perfect conditions for a Bond landslide. It’s nearest competitor, Madagascar 3, took only just over £2million, way down on its own £6million opening weekend. Likewise, Taken 2 and Paranormal Activity 4 both experienced sharp drop offs in takings as punters flocked to see Bond.

I went to see Skyfall myself last weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins both deserve great praise for delivering a movie that combines spectacular action sequences with an emotional heart and genuine character development. Deakins’ photography looks top drawer throughout, with Bond’s arrival at a Macau casino a particular triumph. Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and Javier Bardem are also all on fine form with Bardem in particular worthy of special praise. His Raoul Silva was both an incredibly charismatic and dangerously intelligent villain who is up there with the best ever Bond baddies. If you haven’t seen it yet it’s well worth a watch and, for me anyway, more than lived up to the hype.

Onto this week however and Paul Thomas Anderson’s much-anticipated The Master is released……in London. The rest of us lesser mortals must wait a few more weeks before we are deigned worthy of viewing it.  Anderson’s new movie has been receiving plenty of good reviews across the pond and cinephiles across the UK will be excited to see what the prolific director has conjured up here. The intriguing trailers and a cast including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams have really whetted appetites thus far.

Also out this week is Halloween-set teen comedy Fun Size, French/Belgian romance Rust and Bone and 3D horror Silent Hill : Revelation.

If you want to check to see if any of these films are playing near you, you can visit Find Any Film and they’ll be able to help.


The Master *Pick of the Week*

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Paul Thomas Anderson is one of those directors whose name above a picture has become almost a stamp of quality in its own right. You know with one of his films that you are guaranteed at least a certain level of entertainment. Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love and  There Will be Blood were all critically well received and garnered the director plenty of fully deserved awards and accolades. So when PTA’s new movie, The Master , was first announced, there was obviously a fair bit of excitement and anticipation amongst critics and film lovers alike.

The Master stars Joaquin Phoenix as Freddie Quell, a World War II Navy veteran who struggles to adapt to post war life back in the United States. Freddie suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress disorder and faces an uncertain future because of it. In his desperation, Freddie becomes involved with a philosophical movement called ‘The Cause’, headed by a charismatic leader called Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who takes Freddie under his wing and recruits him to help spread the movement’s message.

Obviously there is a clear nod towards the cult of Scientology here but the filmmakers have repeatedly stressed that this was not their direct intention. The movie is meant to be about WWII veterans returning to normal society and looking for a sense of belonging.  Critics have been heaping praise on both Phoenix and Seymour-Hoffman’s performances and its exciting to see two of the best actors working in Hollywood today going head to head. Anderson’s  direction has also come in for special praise too with the consensus seemingly being that The Master is a striking and beautifully shot movie packed with intense and intelligent drama.

Rotten Tomatoes  Rating : 85%



Fun Size

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The movie abomination that was Project X has made me especially wary about all American teen/house party based comedies. That movie was so painfully bad, I now enter any film which involved spoiled American teens and ‘keggers’ with extreme trepidation and an unhealthy dose of scepticism. Fun Size could of course be absolutely nothing like Project X, it may actually have an ounce of humour in it for one, but early reviews still don’t fill me with confidence.

The film’s plot is thus, a high school senior called Wren wants to go to a party being held by a boy she likes but her parents insist she takes her oddball younger brother out trick-or-treating. When her brother goes awol amidst a sea of costumed kids and partying teenagers, Wren ropes in some friends to help track him down.  (How do they come up with this stuff?)

The critics have been far from kind thus far with many commenting that it is just simply not very funny and despite its short runtime, it still feels a slog at 96 minutes. While it’s by no means the worst comedy you could hope to see, and far from being as offensive and grating as many others, it’s incredibly formulaic and distinctly lacking in humour.

You can read Joe Cunningham’s review here.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating : 24%


Silent Hill : Revelation 3D

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Now… I know what you’re all thinking, computer game to movie adaptations reached their pinnacle with JCVD and Kylie’s  Street Fighter offering in 1994. Since then it’s all been downhill. I don’t personally remember the 2006  Silent Hill, but research suggests that original effort didn’t exactly set the world alight in the first place, so hopes aren’t overly high for a lower budget 3D follow-up. Who knows though, Silent Hill : Revelation 3D could be the movie to buck the trend and return computer game movies to their Street Fightering zenith. It could be. In theory.

The plot as per the official blurb:

Heather Mason and her father have been on the run, always one step ahead of dangerous forces that she doesn’t fully understand. On the eve of her 18th birthday, plagued by horrific nightmares and the disappearance of her father, Heather discovers she’s not who she thinks she is. The revelation leads her deeper into a demonic world that threatens to trap her forever.

Oh my the critics have been savage on this one. Words such as ‘dull’, ‘unimaginative’ and even ‘insipid’ crop up fairly regularly and apparently for a supposed horror movie it is distinctly lacking in anything resembling scares or tension. The semi-creepy atmosphere which apparently existed in the original movie is non-existent and many have suggested the game itself was far scarier than this. Most definitely one to avoid.

You can read Damien Norton’s review here.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating : 5% …..let’s just dwell on that for a moment. This has an even lower rating than Saw 7. Think about that.


Rust and Bone

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Rust and Bone has been receiving plenty of positive reviews prior to its release and was in competition for the Palme D’or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.  It’s a powerful love story focusing on a single father called Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) who takes a job as a bouncer at a nightclub  and during an altercation there one night he meets the beautiful Stephanie (Marion Cotillard). Stephanie is a trainer of killer whales and though from two different social worlds the two start an uneasy romance.  When Stephanie suffers a terrible tragedy though, it forces the two close together and she begins to thrive on Ali’s insatiable love of life.

The two leads’ performances have received plenty of praise with Cottilard’s emotionally charged performance leading some to suggest it’s her best turn since La Vie En Rose.  The film is according to many a powerful love story with a genuine impact. It is directed by Jacques Audilard whose last film A Prophet, was a truly brilliant prison-gangster movie. Clearly a man of many talents, this foray into romance is being extremely well received and is well worth seeking out.

You can see Craig Skinner’s interview with Matthias Schoenaerts here. and his review here.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating : 91%


The Shining

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Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece gets a timely cinematic re-release this weekend and I fully urge every one of you to seek it out on the big screen. I imagine most of us are familiar with Stephen King’s chilling story of a cursed hotel and its  impact upon winter housekeeper Jack Torrance.  However for the uninitiated, this is quite simply a masterclass in nerve-shredding tension and terror. By now you have probably seen most of the famous clips from The Shining on various TV countdowns and what have you, but it really is an incredible experience to watch the film in its entirety and get lost in the eerie foreboding of Kubrick’s film.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating : 89%


For a Good Time, Call

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Two mismatched housemates team up to operate a phone-sex line from their apartment. While their business is at first succesful and brings the two ladies closer together, things soon begin to unravel and they begin to face considerable challenges to both their business and their friendship.  For a Good Time hasn’t exactly blown critics away but it has been fairly well received all the same. It’s not breaking any new ground but the two lead actresses share a good chemistry and their sparky humour ensures this is a decent enough comedy that may be worth a watch on a rainy winter’s evening.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating : 57%



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Pauline, an outcast teen who is obsessed with surgery and all things fleshy, is hatching plans to both lose her virginity and combat her sister’s cystic fibrosis. Both of which are much to her mother’s frustration. Pauline’s mother insists that she visits the church therapist for some much-needed counseling, a move that doesn’t appeal to Pauline at all. In retaliation for the suggestion that she needs religious help, Pauline begins to delve further into the world of home-surgery.

Part black comedy, part teen thriller and part Cronenbergian body-horror, Excision is not for the faint hearted but for anybody who doesn’t mind a bit of blood and gore, it could be a neat eccentric horror that is well worth seeking out.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating : 81%

 You can find our take on the UK cinema releases every Friday.